How to Write a Couplet

Couplets may look easy, but they can sometimes take a draft or two to get just right.
Couplets may look easy, but they can sometimes take a draft or two to get just right. | Source

Definition of Couplet

A couplet is two successive lines of verse that are joined together by rhyme, usually in the same meter. Whether you are writing a Shakespearean sonnet or simply extending a couplet into a series of couplets, this can be one of the easiest forms of poetry-writing, as long as you have the right topic.

Understanding how to write a couplet is quite simple. Couplets are very basic and concise and focus on topics that aren't too complex. They're descriptive and typically rhyme, usually changing from A-A to A-B-A-B, with the last words of each line rhyming with each other. Each line typically shares the same amount of syllables.

Whether you are looking for poetry for kids to write, or just exploring new types of poetry, a couplet can be written in three easy steps. They have been popular for centuries, from nursery rhymes to the great works of William Shakespeare, and continue to be popular today. Now that you know the basics of what a couplet is, read on to find out how to write a couplet of your own.

Shakespeare has many couplets in his plays like Romeo and Juliet and, of course, his sonnets.
Shakespeare has many couplets in his plays like Romeo and Juliet and, of course, his sonnets. | Source

Writing a Couplet

Do you write poetry?

See results without voting

How to Write a Couplet

There are three basic steps you can follow when writing a couplet of your own. Just remember, when learning how to write a couplet, to try to keep things simple, at least for your first attempt or two at writing your own.

Step One:

Choose a topic and brainstorm information on that topic you would like to include. Writing a list or just doing some free-writing (such as the word vomit technique) can really help. For example, if you choose to write about a bird, you might list ideas such as what the bird does or what you like or dislike about it. Don't worry about whether or not your spelling or grammar is correct, just get it all out on paper so that you can stay focused when you start to write a couplet.

Step Two:

Take those ideas and try to narrow them down to compose the first line for your couplet. Take special note of the amount of syllables you use and the last word of the line. Reading it aloud really helps.

Step Three:

Continue on to your second line of your couplet. You will want to use the same amount of syllables in this next line as you did in the first one. You also want to end it with a word that rhymes with the last word of the first line.

Repeat this process again and again until you have a poem that flows together and covers what you want to convey. Each stanza is made up of two lines so your final product should have an even amount of lines.

Humpty Dumpty is just one example of a couplet out of many that can be found in nursery rhymes.
Humpty Dumpty is just one example of a couplet out of many that can be found in nursery rhymes. | Source

Examples of Couplets

Of course, Shakespeare is the best person to look for for inspiration and a little more insight into poetry. There is no end to the amount of couplets that he has produced. Here are a couple of examples of couplets from the works of Shakespeare:

This precious book of love, this unbound lover,

To beautify him only lacks a cover.

Lady Capulet Act I, Scene III Romeo and Juliet

You still shall live, such virtue hath my pen,

Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.

Sonnet 81

More examples of couplets can even be found in nursery rhymes, including the infamous, unfortunate, Humpty Dumpty.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the king's horses and all the king's men

Couldn't put Humpty together again!"

Good luck producing your own couplets. Please feel free to share favorites or your own work in the comments below!

© 2013 LisaKoski

More by this Author

  • Research Topics in English Literature

    Looking for that next research topic on English Literature can be tough. Here are some tips on how to get started on your next essay as well as a link to a list of research essay topics.

  • How to Analyze Poetry

    Doing analysis of poetry is not as easy as some might think. Just because it is usually shorter than books, doesn't mean it takes less effort to do a proper literary analysis.

  • Descriptive Essay Topics

    Descriptive essays can be the easiest essays to write, once you come up with a good topic. Here is some bits of advice and a nice long list of 100 great descriptive essay topics to help and inspire.

Comments 4 comments

rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

I thought this was a wonderful article on how to write a couplet. I loved your examples also. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

jhamann profile image

jhamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

Thank you for this informative hub. Couplets are a very effective poetic form yet sometimes difficult to manage. Jamie

Gypsy48 profile image

Gypsy48 3 years ago

Interesting hub. I like that type of poetry, good examples.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

I loved this, it really showed how couplets are really good at getting the point across in a way that sounds so lovely, voted up and shared! nell

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article